A group of congressmen were in west Texas to get an inside look at an industry they say is under attack. The Congressmen took a tour of a Concho Resources drilling rig to get a real-life perspective on the oil and gas industry and to hear concerns from industry professionals.
Congressman Conway says it's important for those making decisions that affect the oil and gas industry to be able to have the insight of what exactly goes into that industry and today's tour was apart of a nationwide event to do just that.
Congressmen Mike Conaway, Francisco Canseco, Randy Neugebauer and the Chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee Doc Hastings all stepped onto an oil rig to experience the oil and gas industry first-hand.
"It's taking a concepts from the abstract to the specific, when you talk about these things in Washington, if you've never been on a drilling rig, it's really hard to get your head around it," said Mike Conaway, U.S. House of Representatives, Texas, District 11.
An industry the representatives say is being targeted.
"There's no question that there's a political movement that is in opposition to oil and gas, no question," said Doc Hastings, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, District 4.
They say the ammunition is in the form of absurd policy and federal regulations.
"If we look at our economy, it runs on energy and we're literally choking it, choking it," said Francisco Canseco, U.S. House of Representatives, Texas, District 23.
Congressmen Hasting's who's committee has jurisdiction over the EPA and Endangered Species Act says it's time for reform.
"We should never approach this stuff with an either/or but because of the way the law is written, you're forced into that position and we're looking at reforming that law," said Hastings.
"We have to come up with a solution and strike a balance," said Canseco.
Congressman Canseco says the dunes sagebrush lizard is a perfect example of flawed policy backed by weak science.
"It's not about protecting the lizard because we all know the lizard is protected and will continue to be, the fact of the matter is somebody wants to put the kibosh on our energy production and that's wrong," said Canseco.
The congressmen agree supporters of the industry need to be more aggressive in fighting opposition and countering myths.
"The oil and gas industry has a great story, they are responsible stewards of the environment, there's a lot of misinformation that needs to be countered every single day," said Conaway.
Following the tour, the congressmen sat down with industry professionals and west Texas leaders to discuss concerns and answer any questions they had. Congressman Conaway urges west Texans to exercise their right and use this election year to bring change. He says as the presidential candidates reveal their plans, evaluate how they will impact the oil and gas industry and west Texans directly.